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What’s in a Rejection?

In books, On Writing, Uncategorized, Z-A in May on May 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Behind every success is a thousand rejections, did you know?  Of course, that’s cold comfort when it’s you who has just been rejected, but as a writer one learns to spell rejection . . . creatively.

Writers can’t stop bragging about their rejections.  Apparently it’s supposed to be some kind of badge of honor.  (Who knew?)  Well, what’s so great about getting rejected?  For one thing, it hurts, but if bragging about rejection is supposed to be some way of proving that you’re tough, I say:  So what?  Bouncing back from

Dude needs to learn to block.

rejection doesn’t prove anything except that you can take a beating.  Rocky Balboa could take a beating too, but sooner or later we start wishing the guy would learn to stop leading with his face.  Who can retain the ability to think in a straight line when they’ve suffered too many pot-shots to the cranium?

There’s a smarter way to spell rejection.

Behind every rejection is the opportunity for awesome-ness.  And what’s more awesome than “awesome” that rises from the ashes of rejection?  If you’re a writer, your awesome Phoenix song is titled:  Self Publish.

The successful 21st Century writer is also a business person who knows a thing or two about the industry.  Leveraging that knowledge gives you the advantages over the traditional publication model, and while some would argue that using that power weakens the total market, I would argue that business is business.

Look at the 99-cent ebook.  Many experts believe Amazon is using what’s called a razor-razorblade business model.  That means it is selling the Kindle (razor) at an extreme discount, while making its real money on the ebook sales (razor blades).  In fact, according to Steve Weber, sales for Kindle edition books have all but tripled over the last year.  He cautions that this doesn’t mean ebooks are more profitable than paper ones, but, with Amazon selling the Kindle at a loss, and cheap ebooks flooding the market place, it’s clear where Amazon believes the market is heading.

It’s easy to self publish.

That doesn’t mean it’s easy to write a good book, or successfully market your product.  It just means that it’s easy to publish, and that’s important:  This means that those people who weren’t previously interested in you are losing big bucks when you do your homework and launch a success.   In traditional publication models, the author is lucky to get, what — 30%?  Self publish and keep it all.  You can laugh your way to the

One person's rejection is another person's wealth.

bank.  After you’re the next J.K. Rowling, maybe you’d like to share your profits with someone willing to do some of the heavy lifting for you, but the negotiating table looks very different when you’re sitting at its head.

The hard part isn’t writing your book, it’s learning to be a successful book promoter, which you’d have to do anyway.  But if you’ve got fifty rejections under your belt, what are you waiting for?

Find your strength in numbers.

I elected to form an author’s co-op, a place where we can gather and exchange editing services, pool our

Don't launch your book into this.

promotional resources and do all the things a publisher can do, but do it as an in-kind trade.  We have compiled a network of websites and traditional media contacts that will serve as the foundation for blog tours, Indie Spotlights, Interviews, link exchanges, etc.  In short, all the things to ensure our books don’t launch into a vacuum.

Many authors have a low tolerance threshold for the biz of authoring.  Joining a co-op can help because you’ve got a team of people who enjoy a collaborative chemistry, and work together for answers to shared publishing concerns.  Your author co-op puts you behind the wheel of a fancy sports car you get to build.  The dues are staying a professionally active and connecting into the marketplace.   You get your own staff of editors, your own marketing team, and another place on the web to feature your work alongside your partners in crime.

So the real question when you get your next rejection letter is:  What can these chumps do for me that I can’t do for myself?

So I’ll ask again:  What’s in a rejection?  Opportunity.

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